A couple weeks ago, I decided I couldn't take it anymore.
"It" being this east coast winter. Every time I stepped a toe outside my door, my soul shriveled in pain, recoiling from the very thought of going outside.
And let's be clear, this is how I dress warmly when I venture out. The elements have a job getting past this thing. Even so, I couldn't do it. So, after a needless lecture from a cab driver who lightly reminded me it was still winter, after all, I booked a trip to Puerto Rico, and convinced Marmo to come with me.
Our break was not long, just a few days. But it was long enough to get sunburned, eat something called a Mofongo, drink copious amounts of frou-frou drinks, explore a rainforest, and generally forget that I needed to return home at all.
That is what I call a successful vacay, people. Below are a few highlights from the trip – food included!
The round-up of drinks...
After the mojitos featured above, I decided to commandeer a small sea craft and set sail for lands unknown.
But I got hungry, so I weighed anchor and heaved to, to La Estacion in Fajardo. La Estacion is owned and operated by Kevin Roth, originally from Brooklyn and a Culinary Institute of America graduate, and his wife. After many years in NYC and vacationing in Puerto Rico they decided to move to Puerto Rico and open La Estacion. I wonder, being from Brooklyn if Mr. Roth visited Roberta's in Bushwick. The vibe of the restaurants is similar, with ramshackle, garage-like encasements joined together at (what appears to be) random:
The first time we visited, we ordered the Jumbo Shrimp Pinchos and the Grilled Red Snapper. As Marmo, said, this was enough food for three people, but we handled it pretty well. This place does something special with shrimp. Moist, peppery and tangy these little guys were skewered gems.
Our Red Snapper arrived with head attached, charred and flaking, alongside some just-out-of-the-fryer arepa accoutrements:
Incredibly pleased, and full, we returned to the restuarant and contemplated a return trip for the next night, this time sampling a Green Papaya Salad and 2 different "Mofongos": BBQ Chicken and Shrimp with Mahi-Mahi.
A Mofongo is a traditional Puerto Rican dish. It involves smashing green plantains as you would potatoes, and combining it with a hearty amount of garlic, perhaps some broth and then the chicken, fish, pork or vegetables of your choosing. Ours was served in what looked like a giant wooden Tiki jar and topped with one, long fried yellow plantain.
This was my favorite meal of the vacation. The smashed plantains were mushy, gritty, garlicky and packed with all sorts of flavor including chunks of Mahi-Mahi and seasoned shrimp.
And we followed it up with this Banana Fritter.
Marmo and I were very pleased. Very pleased, indeed. And did I mention sunburnt? And lazy? Those too.